Well it wasn’t the best of months for tennis in America. First, the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open was on one of ESPN’s many networks, but a lot of fans struggled to find it. And then Sunday, the men’s final of the Sony Open cut off just as Andy Murray and David Ferrer were going into a third-set tiebreaker on CBS because of the start of the Michigan-Florida blowout.
The tennis people don’t want to admit this, but they’re low on the totem pole as far as network executives are concerned. If you’re not a slam, you’ll get shoddy treatment.
But if you were paying attention to Tennis Channel, they continue to do an excellent job giving fans what they want. A really great moment for the Tennis Channel was at the BNP Paribas Open, when the matches went long and Novak Djokovic had to play a match beginning after midnight. Tennis Channel stayed with the coverage and it was fantastic. And you won’t get the cutoff like you had with CBS on Sunday, and you’ll always know where to catch the matches … uninterrupted.
The BNP Paribas Open has a strong desire to be on a network, so they continue to have a contract with ESPN with hopes of getting on ABC. They need to give up on the networks, like many of the views have. If you look at the television landscape in entertainments, very few of the best shows are on network. They are on AMC, or the premium networks. I’m talking about Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Girls, Dexter, Homeland, Boardwalk Empire and Walking Dead. You can build a strong audience and good buzz as all those shows have. As a fan, I never cared about AMC, but once I got hooked on Mad Men and Breaking Bad, it’s become appointment TV.
Hopefully the BNP Paribas Open and Sony Open will take note.